DH and I have come to the decision that the midwife we hired is not right for us. This is a decision that is in some ways easy but in some ways very difficult. I know it's the right decision, but I really have no idea what the right next step is. She is the only midwife who attends births in the area (we live in a hostile state), so finding another local midwife isn't a possibility. The way I see it, we have several choices.
1) Go unassisted. This is our third child and our second homebirth, so I'm not totally unprepared, but I am not entirely comfortable with this option. I support women who choose it, but I don't feel it is the right choice for me and my family, especially feeling forced into it. I do have a doula, but she is a new doula and this would be her first birth. I am also a doula, but have only attended a few births myself.
2) Call the midwife who delivered my 2nd child and beg her to take me on at 37 weeks. She lives about 6 hours away (we moved since the last birth, or I would have hired her in the first place), which means we would need to either pay to bring her here or ask a friend who lives there to let us stay with them and have a baby at their house. This would be a significantly higher financial burden than we had planned on, since we already paid the other midwife in full, and I can't be sure she will be prompt and cooperative about the partial refund we are contractually entitled to.
3) Go to the hospital. Not an option. I'm only listing it so I can say it's not an option, so nobody posts that we should do a hospital birth. We're not doing a hospital birth. Been there, done that, never again.
Any advice is welcome. I feel completely lost. Also, any information anyone can give me on a crash course in unassisted birth for the unprepared is welcome. Even if we do wind up hiring another midwife, I will feel better if I can start mentally preparing myself for the possibility that we won't be able to in time. And any information on how to handle the conversation with the midwife being fired, from those who have had to do it themselves would be great. I'm really emotional about this, not because I doubt my decision (I don't), but because the reasons leading up to this decision have dragged up a lot of painful emotional baggage from my first birth experience.
I encourage you to feel confident in planning a UC. You can always go to the hospital if you change your mind, why not give yourself a chance at an amazing and autonomous birth?
mom to 3 home-born children, wife to a great guy
Are you sure she's the only homebirth midwife in the area? Perhaps there are some flying very low under the radar? Have tried asking any local NCB contacts you may have, maybe the local or state ICAN or LLL can give you a nudge toward someone in your area.
Also, you other midwife may know of someone or may be willing to help you in some way, she may come to you at a discounted rate? Or you could figure out a barter or something.
If you aren't comfortable going UC, trust that instinct and truly exhaust all other options. And I know you said it's not an option but perhaps the hospital has changed, things change, doctors and nurses depart and new ones come, you know more know you are most certainly a more mature, confident and educated mother than with your previous experience. I'm not downplaying any trauma you may have experienced in the hospital just suggesting that it will most likely be different than last time. And in the end if you do go UC, please please let you mind release all fear and doubt, that fear and doubt can really be dangerous to you and baby. Fully educate all involved and more forward with confident and rested mind for a hopefully optimal outcome. I'm praying all is safe in the end.
We let our midwife go at 36 weeks. My thoughts on birth had changed since we hired her when I was 16ish weeks. I was simply not comfortable with how she had been treating me or the birth protocols that she would be requiring. We went back and forth via email (her preferred method of communication and mine) and finally at our next prenatal appointment we let her go. We simply told her that our ideas for the birth differed and we wanted to go another way. It was emotionally draining, but worth it. FWIW, she did reimburse us quickly for the birth/postpartum portion of her fee.
Fortunately there was one other mw in our area and doubly fortunately we clicked with her right away. So switching was absolutely the right decision. However, in between letting our first mw go and hiring the second one, we seriously considered a UC. Like you, we were never quite 100% certain of our choice largely b/c my family intervened in a big way when we told them. It was a family apocalypse where I was on the phone nightly being told that I was selfish, that I was going to die and my baby was going to die. It was awful. The mw we hired was comfortable letting dh and I labor and birth by ourselves while she waited in the next room, so it was a great compromise for everyone.
At any rate, finding mw's in hostile areas can be quite challenging and you might be totally right that there isn't another one, but I have found now, in two different states, that it can take quite a bit of digging and asking around in the right circles to find all the options. I got myself connected with natural parenting Yahoo groups and posted questions. I also posted my phone number and ended up having friends of friends of super secret midwives contact me with information. Just a thought.
Good luck with your decision!
Mama to Avalon 1/07 , Austin 1/10 in between and Avery 12/11
If you are comfortable with a UC and do decide to persue one you might want to consider keeping you midwife on "just in case". You can say "oops, it went to fast" and then use her for postpartum care if needed. You wouldn't want to have to go to the hospital just for a few stitches or b/c you became worried about an issue during labor.
Like you, I am not sure I'd ever be comfortable with a UC, although I support other women who do. But, after having a fantastic HB myself, "Mama Is"'s cartoon birth story of her fourth babe made me want to UC. It's so inspiring!
Unless you can work out something with your old midwife, or find another midwife, then I 'second' the idea of keeping your current midwife just in case and for the postpartum care. I was in a situation where my options seemed to be accept an intervention I disagreed with at the birth center, or go to the hospital and refuse it, or have the baby by myself at home (midwife at home was not an option at all at that point). I decided to set myself all up for a UC, but kept the other two options open just in case. I ended up with a beautiful UC, and I actually didn't tear, but I was able, after the birth, to just casually go down to the birth center with my baby so that we could be checked out. The midwife checked me for tears, and would have sewn me up had I torn. Looked over the baby, I filled out some paperwork, and we left. It was easy peasy and even helped when it came time to get the birth certificate. I don't imagine checking myself into a hospital (I was sure I had torn, couldn't quite tell on my own) would not have been nearly as nice and I couldn't have left right away after they checked me, and I certainly wouldn't have wanted to bring the baby in with me in case they freaked out and wanted to observe him and run tests on him, etc. etc. If you need to go UC, then having an "oops" baby with the midwife available to come check you out and sew you up, etc. will be a nice backup. But I would still keep working on finding another midwife or figuring out how to rehire your old one until you know for sure it is impossible (or it becomes too late!).
LOL! I just realized your post is from May! Well, my post certainly won't have helped you in any way. :) I would like to find out what happened in the end, so I do hope I can find a post that updates your story. :) Hope all went well!